Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal participated in an expanded meeting of Iraq’s neighboring countries in Istanbul today. The meeting was also attended by Egypt, Bahrain, permanent members of the UN Security Council and representatives of the G-8.
In a speech delivered at the meeting, Prince Saud stressed the importance of maintaining the unity, independence and sovereignty of Iraq, as well as noninterference in its internal affairs. He also reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for the Iraqi people.
“Our deep compassionate feelings regarding the human suffering of the Iraqi people are only equaled by our continuous determination to do everything possible to help them overcome the tragic conditions that continue to face them,” he said.
Prince Saud noted that despite some positive developments the situation in Iraq remains at a standstill, threatening regional security. “The continuous sectarian and ethnic conflicts constitute a serious challenge to Iraq's unity and are a threat to its security and stability, and a significant impediment to its development and rebuilding efforts,” he said. “This dangerous state of affairs poses great risks and terrorist threats to the security of Iraq’s neighbors.”
A comprehensive national reconciliation is the only solution to the situation, the prince remarked.
“We cannot and should not accept the transformation of the great country of Iraq into various spheres of influence and domination by competing regional and international powers, or an arena for terrorist mobs and a center of their destructive criminal operations that threaten the security and stability of Iraq and its neighbors,” he said.
Prince Saud also condemned terrorist operations that have targeted Turkey, and argued that every effort should be made to stop such incursions.
While in Istanbul, Prince Saud met separately with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon to discuss regional and international issues.